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"Success is Possible for Everybody"

Ashley Bennʼs NLC Success Story

As a mother of young children, a restaurant manager and an active community volunteer, Ashley Benn has a busy life.

Ashley has always had an interest in teaching but struggled to see how she could obtain her education degree while juggling the responsibilities of a full life.

However, when Ashley learned Northern Lakes College (NLC) offered flexible, Supported Distance Learning programs, she realized she could indeed pursue a post-secondary education.

Ashley enrolled in NLC’s Educational Assistant Certificate program. Because the program was delivered online, she was able to juggle daily tasks with the program schedules, attend classes live when possible and watch the recordings of any missed classes after her children went to bed.

“It took motivation on my part to stay focused, but the flexibility was great,” said Ashley. “I was able to put my life first, and with support from my husband, I returned to homework or classes whenever I could.”

Soon after completing the Educational Assistant Certificate program, Ashley began working as an educational assistant while also taking University Studies courses in preparation for the University of Calgary’s Community-Based Bachelor of Education program, which is offered in partnership with Northern Lakes College.

The program allows students to complete most of their teaching degree in their home communities through online learning.

Despite challenges, Ashley succeeded in maintaining excellent marks in all her classes—a success she credits in large part to the active role her instructors played.

“If I sent an email asking for clarity on a subject, I could rely on receiving very detailed and constructive feedback within about 24 hours,” said Ashley. “My instructors really helped me make independent learning a success and helped me digest any topic we talked about, so I could improve my understanding and the quality of work I turned in.”

Ashley continues to be active in her community, as well as her children’s school and sports clubs, as she nears the completion of her studies.

She hopes her story will inspire other parents who might be hesitant to take the leap into advanced education.

“It’s been empowering. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been rewarding. And, I mean, if I could do it with everything that’s going on in my life, my kids’ lives and my family’s life, well then, I think success is possible for everybody,” said Ashley.

Northern Lakes College offers many programs through Supported Distance Learning.

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